Leading leftist lawmakers from the European Union allegedly accepted up to €4 million in bribes to use their influence to advance the aims of the Islamic nations of Morocco, Mauritania, and Qatar.
A year after one of the largest corruption scandals in the history of the bloc rocked Brussels as socialist EU parliamentarians were discovered with literal suitcases full of cash allegedly from the Sharia state of Qatar, leaked documents seen by the POLITICO website have shed light on the potential scale of the suspected influence peddling scheme.
According to the report, former Member of the European Parliament Pier Antonio Panzeri and his aide Francesco Giorgi kept detailed spreadsheet accounts of their activities allegedly working on behalf of the Islamic governments of Morocco, Mauritania, and Qatar over four years, during which they and their leftist cohorts reportedly raked in approximately €4 million in bribes.
The spreadsheet, which was discovered on Giorgi after police raided his Brussels apartment last year, logged over 300 instances in which the far-leftists sought to use their influence within the EU Parliament and the corresponding payoffs between 2018 and 2022. One of the chief aims of the alleged ring was to secure visa-free travel in the EU for Qatari nationals as well as to block six resolutions introduced by the European Union’s legislative body to condemn the human rights abuses in Islamic country.
The alleged pay-for-play influence scheme also, according to the spreadsheet, claimed to have “changed [the] narrative in parliament” surrounding the Qatar World Cup, which was shrouded in controversy over the exploitation of migrant workers and the claimed use of actual slave labour, during a parliamentary committee hearing in 2021 which featured a Qatari government official.
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Giorgi and Panzeri also reportedly bragged about successfully modifying an EU resolution on Morocco’s handling of the migrant crisis in 2021 to a “more moderate text”. They also are claimed to have cited work to help pass a resolution against Algeria, which the spreadsheet claimed would have been to the benefit of Morocco.
In addition, the documents stated that the leftist Eurocrats had sought to improve the reputation of the West African nation of Mauritania while claiming to have blocked an anti-slavery activist and critic of the Mauritanian government from winning a top EU human rights award.
The files on Giorgi’s computer reportedly said that they accomplished their influence-peddling operation with a network of Brussels insiders, whom they dubbed “soldiers”. So far, the police investigation has seen the arrests of four current and former Members of the European Parliament on suspicion of corruption, money laundering and criminal organisation crimes.
In addition to Panzeri and Giorgi, police arrested then-European Parliament Vice President and Giorgi’s spouse, Eva Kaili. The Greek socialist politician was removed from her leadership post after she was arrested and police recovered large amounts of cash in suitcases and bags. She has denied all charges. It has been reported that dozens of other EU lawmakers may have been tied to the suspected bribery scheme.
A source close to Giorgi’s legal defence team told POLITICO that his lawyers will argue that the spreadsheet was “not credible” as proof of corrupt activities, but rather that it was used merely to “boost” the group’s image to foreign clients. Giorgi reportedly told police that their business model “relied on the ignorance of how parliament works” of foreign clients.
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Commenting on the leaked revelations, German MEP Daniel Freund said: “It seems the scheme is a lot bigger than what we had so far learnt.”
“It seems you can buy or at least influence certain decisions in the Parliament, or at the very least there are some former MEPs that try to make everybody believe that you can and are selling that as a product.”
The acting director of Transparency International EU, Nick Aiossa said: “These documents show us that this was a sustained, multiannual effort to nefariously influence parliamentary procedures… It happened over years with multiple people, and it wasn’t discovered. So what else is out there?”
“The response by the Parliament has been weak, meagre and certainly doesn’t speak to the severity of the scandal that happened last December.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 23, 2022